Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education & British Values at Grange First School
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education runs alongside and underpins our school curriculum and daily life. We recognise and embrace the need to actively promote strategies that challenge prejudice and promote equality and democracy within our school.
The DFE consultation in 2014 asks schools “to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”
At Grange First School we work hard to ensure these values are promoted and embedded in everything we do, from our school ethos and policies to practice in the classroom. We believe they are exemplified in the behaviours of our children. We are very proud to call ourselves the Grange First School Family. This family embraces children, teachers, families and our wider community. We aim to model through the way we treat each other, our key values of respect, tolerance, understanding and cooperation. These core values are reinforced across school in many ways and where children, staff or parents express opinions contrary to them they are challenged. Children and families of all backgrounds and cultures are welcomed and valued at Grange and we strive to ensure all children will make the very best progress that they can so that when they leave Grange they are able to play key roles in building a strong and cohesive society.
Strengthening Our Communities
We take every opportunity to ensure our children explore what it means to be part of our community and that they have many regular chances to participate in actively building up the society they are part of. The Grange curriculum is underpinned by a clear whole school vision and a set of three Curriculum Drivers. A key Driver influencing all of our work is that of Community.
Grange Curriculum Community Driver: We believe that it is important that our children have a strong awareness of their community and locality, of whom they are and where they fit in the world. We want our children to understand, celebrate and uphold core values of respect, tolerance and understanding that allow the many different communities and groups that we all come from to live and grow together in one Grange community. We believe that successful learning depends on a positive partnership between home, school and the wider community and we seek opportunities for our children to become involved in their community and develop partnerships that raise understanding of each other, show children the role they play in their locality, provide positive role models to our children and build up their skills and knowledge. (All staff 2014)
Our School Community: We work hard together to build our Grange community based on care and respect for each other and a shared ownership of the Grange Golden Rules. Our Home-School Agreement clearly sets out expectations for all members of the community when they join our school. We expect all children and adults in our school to treat each other with respect, care and kindness. All children are part of a Family Group. Within their Family Group, they discuss a wide range of SMSC/PHSE issues in a mixed age setting. Discussions are held in a circle ensuring all children are able to confidently offer their opinions. The importance of listening to every idea with respect is at the heart of these weekly meetings. Our partnership with parents is key to the success of our school and we strive to offer as many opportunities as possible that involve our parents in school life. Governors oversee our work and play a key role in monitoring, supporting and framing our work. A very active school PTFA supports us in bringing together our families and parents lead campaigns to ensure our community is safe and happy.
The Local Community: Grange children play key roles throughout their local community recently these have included;
- Regular visits to a local care home to read and sing to elderly residents
- Meetings with local MPs and councillors
- Promoting sustainable travel to school approaches
- Leading other schools in creating links with volunteers at the local park and working alongside them to develop the gardens at the park.
- Through whole school events, supporting and building up links with local charities such as the Alan Shearer Centre and The People’s kitchen
- Tidying and renovating the garden of an elderly neighbour of the school
- Singing at St Oswald’s Hospice
- Building up links with the local Environment Agency
Grange First school is proud to play a lead role in bringing together children in our locality to work together, play together and learn about each other. To further these aims we host a choir for all local schools and organise sporting and curriculum events for children from the widest range of backgrounds to come together. Children are expected to play a lead role caring for their community. For the last two years the school has won medals in the Newcastle School Grounds competitions thanks to the work of our children looking after their environment.
Our Global Community: Children at Grange have the opportunity to learn a range of languages and learn about cultures around the world. All children in KS2 learn Spanish and groups of children across school also have the chance to learn French and Mandarin from native speakers. We are part of the Newcastle’s project and formed a link with Shinshiro (Newcastle ) in Japan. Grange children welcomed delegates from that city with songs and dance and have exchanged work with a Japanese school. Several of our teachers have travelled abroad in a study group to learn more about the language and cultures of other countries and to enhance their pedagogy. Our curriculum is rich in opportunities to learn about the wider world and annual events such as storytelling week embrace the international themes.
Building Democracy Within Our School:
Democracy is strong within our school, but we are always aware of the need to expand and deepen it to ensure every child is truly involved in decisions that affect them. We know that democracy is developed in school when every child feels they have a strong, equal and valued say about the issues that affect them.
- Children in each class decide about the key class rules and contract for that year.
- The views of children are key to the development of our curriculum and staff leave space and time to ensure children’s interests are followed.
- Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our ‘School Council’ School councillors are based solely on children’s votes. They are encouraged to rigorously seek out the views of their peers. Through meetings with senior staff and the Head teacher they represent the views of the children, help frame key policies and influence a range of decisions.
- Children complete pupil questionnaires and have Pupil voice disucssion with school leaders.
- Alongside School Councillors we ask a large number of our older children to take on positions of responsibility in the school. Our Team Leaders, Playmakers, Eco-Warriors, Family Group Buddies and Librarians play an important role supporting other children and developing the way our school operates.
- Children invite in local councillors and MPs to talk to them about different levels of democracy and how local and national decisions are made in this country.
- Children are encouraged to become involved in local decisions, to write letters, lead campaigns and debate issues affecting them and their families.
Governors play an active part in school life and we endeavour to demonstrate to children the role they play in school life and the democratic structure of our governance and leadership.
Tolerance and Understanding
We believe that it is important to build understanding and empathy towards others that goes beyond tolerance. This is achieved through enhancing children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience and celebrate such diversity. Our RE teaching is based on the agreed syllabus for Newcastle Schools and is designed to reflect the faiths, beliefs and religions of our school community and the wider community. We welcome in speakers holding different views and traditions to talk to our children. Members of faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge and to enhance learning within classes and the school as well as through educational visits. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice-based bullying are followed and supported by learning in PSHE lessons. We actively challenge any incidences of prejudice towards others based on faith, gender, race or disability.
We believe that the breadth and diversity of our wider curriculum plays a key part in building understanding. We aim to deliver our curriculum through a broad range of learning opportunities that give children an understanding and appreciation of how different cultures shape our school, local community and country. Through a sense of open enquiry we encourage children to reflect on the beliefs of others, to explore issues and develop their social skills.
Our school leadership team including all Governors emphatically reinforce the view that extremism will not form part of the curriculum or teaching in any form and that the PSHE curriculum will encourage the children to respect other people and no child will be discriminated against contrary to the Equality Act 2010. We challenge all incidences of prejudice within our school.
Respect underpins the adult and child interactions in our school and is at the heart of our Curriculum. All members of the Grange Family are expected to uphold our Golden Rules. The Golden Rules are based around mutual respect. Through the way we treat each other we model respect to the children. We actively teach children what respect for each other is and incorporate it into our circle time discussions and assemblies. The children take part in discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. Displays around the school promote respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom contracts, whole school rules, as well as our behaviour policy. Within their family groups children discuss a wide range of SMSC/PSHE issues in a mixed age group setting. Discussions are held in a circle ensuring all children are able to confidently offer their opinion. The importance of listening to every idea with respect plays a key part of these weekly meetings.